A Russian officer who described swimming throughout the Dnipro River to defect is among the many Kremlin troops who’ve surrendered by way of a Ukrainian web site (Picture: Getty)A Ukrainian web site entitled ‘I Want to Live’ is claimed to be within the means of serving to greater than 800 demoralised Russian troops to give up.
The channel for Moscow’s troops to wave the white flag is claimed to have had greater than 25,000 contacts general since launching 13 months in the past.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for Dealing with Prisoners of War (CHDPW) mentioned that Russia was extensively utilizing frontline troops as ‘artillery meat’ in Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Petro Yatsenko instructed Metro.co.uk that the platform, named Khochu Zhit in Ukrainian, helps to facilitate one give up each two days on common.
A Russian military officer named as Lieutenant Daniil Alfyorov is claimed to have been among the many newest to provide themselves up by way of the platform, having earlier facilitated the switch of 11 of his comrades by way of the method.
The platoon commander started secretly working with Ukraine in June 2023 earlier than discovering his life was in peril and being evacuated by Kyiv’s Special Operations Forces throughout the strains, in keeping with the CHDPW.
Lieutenant Daniil Alfyorov is claimed to have helped 11 of his comrades to give up (Picture: Coordination Headquarters for Dealing with Prisoners of War)His give up got here forward of a report that lots of of convicts have been pressed into Russian penal items often known as ‘Storm-Z’ squads and despatched to probably the most uncovered and harmful elements of the frontline.
A video printed by Gulagu.web, a marketing campaign for Russian prisoners’ rights, which was examined within the Reuters investigation reveals one unit complaining about their therapy and refusing to return to the warzone.
Yatsenko mentioned that low morale and the usage of prisoners, a technique deployed by the previous Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin earlier than his dying, have been marked options of the Russian frontline.
Yatsenko instructed Metro.co.uk: ‘The morale of Russian front-line troops is low as a result of they’re extensively used as so-called artillery meat. No one desires to be on the frontline and Russians are utilizing former prisoners.
‘Prigozhin and his Wagner group have been pioneers of the method. After his dying the Russian Ministry of Defence is utilizing the identical tactic with the Storm-Z battalions. Ukraine is experiencing a development in various prisoners of conflict who have been Russian criminals of the decrease degree of hierarchy.’
Alfyorov, nonetheless, was mentioned by the CHDPW to be a ‘profession officer’ and a Moscow Higher Military Command School graduate who had commanded a platoon on the precise financial institution of the Dnipro River within the Kherson area.
Appearing in movies recorded at a press convention, he described the brutal therapy meted out by the Russian army to troops who have been disillusioned or confirmed dissent. Alfyorov mentioned such folks confronted being ‘thrown right into a pit’ and ‘tied to bushes for a number of days’.
A video shared by Russian prisoners’ rights marketing campaign group Gulagu.web reveals Storm-Z fighters saying they may now not battle in Ukraine, in protest at therapy by their commanders (Picture: by way of Reuters)He additionally instructed how he used I Want to Live to contact Ukrainian handlers earlier than organising the give up of his 11 comrades in three teams.
In an interview he described swimming throughout the Dnipro throughout his escape and mentioned he meant to affix the Russian Volunteer Corps, a paramilitary group of residents from his homeland combating on the Ukrainian facet.
The newly-disclosed operation follows the defection of a Russian pilot who crossed the strains in an Mi-8 helicopter in August this 12 months.
Maksim Kuzminov, 28, mentioned on Ukrainian TV final month that he ‘didn’t wish to contribute’ to conflict crimes carried out by Moscow’s troops in Ukraine.
He was mentioned by Ukraine’s army intelligence to be set to obtain a $500,000 (£410,000) reward, paid within the nationwide hryvnia forex, for altering sides.
The CHDPW mentioned: ‘During his cooperation with Ukrainian intelligence, Alfyorov not solely helped greater than ten Russian servicemen to give up, but in addition offered worthwhile data for the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine. Alfyorov has gone via all the mandatory procedures offered for army personnel who’ve surrendered.
‘He acknowledged that he’s an opponent of Russia’s prison conflict towards Ukraine and introduced his intention to battle towards the Putin regime.’
Yatsenko instructed Metro.co.uk that 220 Russian personnel have surrendered out of greater than 25,000 contacts for the reason that undertaking was launched on September 18 final 12 months. More than 800 are presently underway, he mentioned. The web site lists 24-7 channels together with cellphone and social media hotlines and a chatbot.
The undertaking states that these crossing sides can be handled in step with the Geneva Conventions referring to the therapy of prisoners of conflict
Prisoners of conflict line up for a meal at a Ukrainian detention camp within the Lviv area (Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
The prisoners eat lunch within the detention camp within the Lviv area on August 3, 2023 (Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)A repeated thread of low Russian morale has been the obvious use of ‘blocking troops’ to forestall the Kremlin’s frontline troopers from retreating.
However the CHDPW has not discovered conclusive proof that the tactic, which has evoked comparisons with the ruthless strategies utilized by Joseph Stalin’s Red Army throughout the Second World War, has been used.
‘We have requested Russian prisoners of conflict whether or not they have observed such troops on the battlefield behind them,’ Yatsenko mentioned.
‘All of them have heard about it however no one has given us strict proof.
‘We thought the story is likely to be a approach for Russian commanders to scare their troopers. It seems like “blocking troops” are usually not extensively used besides by the previous Wagner group forces the place the so-called “zeroing coverage” [execution for desertion or retreat in battle] was part of the tactic when Prigozhin`s troopers gave up a place.‘
Ukraine has mentioned that prisoners of conflict who give up can be handled in keeping with the foundations of worldwide legislation (Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)Russia’s demand for troops to feed its grinding all-out assault faces no instant finish, in keeping with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).
On X, the MoD mentioned that Moscow’s defence spending is about to ‘surge’ to round 30% of all public expenditure subsequent 12 months and the nation is ‘making ready for a number of additional years of combating in Ukraine’.
In one other replace, the Defence HQ account mentioned that in Russia’s Pskov Oblast, near the Estonian border, civilians have been being requested to volunteer for safety patrols to protect towards drone assaults on Kresty air base.
Two II-76 Candid heavy cargo plane have been reportedly destroyed and two others broken after a strike by unmanned aerial automobiles on the ability on the evening of August 29.
The submit learn: ‘Society is changing into extra militarised as Russia’s state of affairs worsens. Civilian volunteers are being requested to patrol an air base.’
MORE : Demoralised Russians ‘battle on with machine weapons pointed at backs’
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